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How to Build a Balanced Breakfast

Need help squeezing in the most important meal of the day? Breakfast is a breeze with these simple tips on how to make a balanced on-the-go meal, along with easy, satisfying, and diabetes-friendly breakfast ideas.

The Importance of Breakfast for People with Diabetes

Eating a healthful breakfast can help control blood glucose, hunger, and weight. Breakfast is a chance to fill up on healthful fuel for the day's activities and fit in some important food groups.

Get more mileage out of your breakfast by including satisfying fiber from whole grains and fruit and protein from low-fat dairy products and other lean protein sources. Need ideas? This slideshow will give you the basics on how to put a simple breakfast together in a snap, along with meal ideas that are already done for you -- right down to the nutrition information. If you're not hungry in the morning, start with a partial meal and build up.

Build a Balanced Breakfast

When compiling your first meal of the day, remember this simple formula:

Whole grain + dairy/protein + fruit = healthy breakfast

Include whole grains for the starch portion of your meal. This will be your main carbohydrate source. The dairy/protein digests more slowly than carbohydrate, helping you feel satisfied. And fruit is rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber -- plus it's a healthy carbohydrate source.

Each of the following breakfasts has about 45 grams of carbohydrate and is a good source of fiber and protein. BONUS! They're all easily portable if you're on the go.

Diabetes-Friendly Breakfast Recipes

Healthy Breakfast #1: Sausage and Cheese English Muffin

Whole Grain:
--Whole wheat English muffin
--1 teaspoon light vegetable oil spread

Dairy/Protein:
--Morningstar Farms Original vegetable sausage patty
--3/4 ounce reduced-fat cheese

Fruit:
--3/4 cup blueberries

Nutrition Information:
339 cal., 10 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 15 mg chol., 681 mg sodium, 42 g carb., 6.5 g fiber, 21 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #2: Cereal and Milk

Whole Grain:
--1 cup Kashi GoLean cereal

Dairy/Protein:
--3/4 cup fat-free milk

Fruit:
--1/2 cup strawberries, sliced

Nutrition Information:
226 cal., 1 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 4 mg chol., 162 mg sodium, 45 g carb., 11.5 g fiber, 19.5 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #3: Blueberry Muffin

Whole Grain:
--Fiber One frozen blueberry muffin, thawed

Dairy/Protein:
--Hard-cooked egg

Fruit:
--1 cup cantaloupe cubes

Nutrition Information:
312 cal., 9 g total fat (2.5 g sat. fat), 232 mg chol., 278 mg sodium, 46 g carb., 8.5 g fiber, 10 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #4: Apple and Cheese

Whole Grain:
--Amy's Apple Toaster Pop, toasted

Dairy/Protein:
--Light string-cheese stick

Fruit:
--Small apple

Nutrition Information:
260 cal., 6 g total fat (1.5 g sat. fat), 10 mg chol., 271 mg sodium, 43 g carb., 3.5 g fiber, 9 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #5: Bagel with Peanut Butter

Whole Grain:
--Thomas' 100% Whole Wheat Mini Bagel

Dairy/Protein:
--1 tablespoon Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

Fruit:
--1 large orange

Nutrition Information:
296 cal., 3.5 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 15 mg chol., 590 mg sodium, 45 g carb., 5 g fiber, 17 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #6: Loaded Pita Pockets

Whole Grain:
--Weight Watchers 100% Whole Wheat Pita Pocket, halved

Dairy/Protein:
--1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
--4 walnut halves, chopped

Fruit:
--1 small banana, sliced

Nutrition Information:
307 cal., 8.5 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 10 mg chol., 621 mg sodium, 46 g carb., 11 g fiber, 21 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #7: Cinnamon Swirl Bread and Spread

Whole Grain:
--2 slices Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon with Raisins Swirl Bread, toasted

Dairy/Protein:
--2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese
--1 teaspoon honey

Fruit:
--1 kiwifruit

Nutrition Information:
293 cal., 8 g total fat (3.5 g sat. fat), 20 mg chol., 352 mg sodium, 45 g carb., 6 g fiber, 8 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #8: Stuffed Oatmeal

Whole Grain:
--Quaker Original Instant Oatmeal packet (just add hot water)

Dairy/Protein:
--4 pecan halves, chopped

Fruit:
--Apple Cinnamon Delight ExtendBar

Nutrition Information:
291 cal., 8.5 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 215 mg sodium, 41.5 g carb., 9.5 g fiber, 16.5 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #9: Chocolate!

Whole Grain:
--VitaMuffin Deep Chocolate VitaTop, thawed

Dairy/Protein:
--8-ounce Soy Dream Original Enriched Organic Soymilk

Fruit:
--Single-serve unsweetened applesauce

Nutrition Information:
250 cal., 5.5 g total fat (1.5 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 275 mg sodium, 41 g carb., 9 g fiber, 10 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #10: Cookie and Yogurt

Whole Grain:
--Erin Baker's Oatmeal Raisin Original Breakfast Cookie Mini

Dairy/Protein:
--5.3-ounce Stonyfield Oikos Organic 0% Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Fruit:
--1 cup raspberries

Nutrition Information:
274 cal., 1.5 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 141 mg sodium, 45 g carb., 10 g fiber, 18 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #11: Toast and Jam

Whole Grain:
--2 slices reduced-calorie whole wheat bread, toasted
--1 tablespoon Smucker's Low Sugar Red Raspberry Preserves

Dairy/Protein:
--4-ounce Breakstone's Small Curd Low Fat Cottage Cheese

Fruit:
--4-ounce Dole Pineapple Tidbits in 100% Pineapple Juice

Nutrition Information:
265 cal., 3.5 g total fat (1.5 g sat. fat), 15 mg chol., 590 mg sodium, 45 g carb., 5 g fiber, 17 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #12: Yogurt and Granola

Whole Grain:
--Single-serve pouch Back to Nature Honey Almond Granola to Go

Dairy/Protein:
--6-ounce Fage Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

Fruit:
--3 dried apricot halves

Nutrition Information:
305 cal., 7 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 85 mg sodium, 43 g carb., 5 g fiber, 20 g pro.

Healthy Breakfast #13: Breakfast Pizza

Whole Grain:
--EarthGrains 100% Natural Whole Wheat Thin Bun
--2 tablespoons pizza sauce, divided

Dairy/Protein:
--2 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese
--1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
--1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
--1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
(After assembling pizzas, microwave 30-45 seconds.)

Fruit:
--1 medium nectarine

Nutrition Information:
295 cal., 8.5 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 21 mg chol., 502 mg sodium, 42 g carb., 8 g fiber, 17.5 g pro.

More Diabetes-Friendly Breakfast Recipes

Diabetic Living Video

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